Valuable Blog Posts are the Only Type of Blog Post That Count.
Unless you create valuable blog posts for your reader, you might as well dump your hard work into the trash can. All the SEO and paid online ads in the world won’t improve traffic and conversion if no one clicks on your web page or blog article and takes actionable steps—like filling out a contact form or downloading a white paper. Even if you don’t create worthwhile content, the other tools you use won’t do you much good.
SEO is all about getting people to your site. But once you get a visitor, how do you get them to stay there? Do they interact with the site, or do they vanish into thin air (and go to your competitor’s site)? There are many things a copywriter can do to improve website stickiness and lower the bounce rate. Follow the advice in the article, and you can improve search engine results, traffic, visitor engagement, and lead generation.
First, some definitions about website stickiness and bounce rates:
What is website stickiness?
Stickiness is a term for keeping people on a website longer, which generally means they look at more pages within the site and interact with content. Search engines prefer sites that are sticky and track how long users stay on a site as a result of an organic search.
What is bounce rate?
This is a calculation that represents the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave, rather than continuing to onto other pages of the website. Exact definitions can vary from just looking at one page or leaving after just a few seconds. You want your bounce rate to be low, indicating that they find your site to be valuable. Or, as Avinash Kaushik, a well-known business analyst, put it, “I came, I saw Yuk, I am out of here.”
What is a typical bounce rate?
The short answer is that there is no typical bounce rate. For that reason, it’s also difficult to define “good” and “bad” bounce rates. The figures below bear this out:
A B2B website has an average bounce rate of 25-55%
According to ConversionXL, landing pages have an average bounce rate of 60%-90%. However, another source that notes that, for landing pages, the main traffic sources are PPC and social media ads—and the ideal percentage is up to 40%.
For homepages and service pages, organic search is the most important traffic source. The importance of bounces is medium. The ideal percentage is less than 60%.
It’s difficult to know how to improve website stickiness,. Remember that you can expect bounce rates to vary based on industry and niche, where the traffic comes from (Google calls this the channel), type of website, and type of web page.
Here are some examples illustrating how bounce rate averages differ according to website type and industry:
What is the right bounce rate for your website?
A good piece of advice to help learn how to improve website stickiness for your site is to set a benchmark and goals for your own website, analyze bounce rates over time, see what works for your specific company, and adjust website content accordingly.
Now that we’ve covered the basics about stickiness and bounce rate, we can get down to how to improve stickiness if you are a copywriter.
Website stickiness Tip #1: Ensure quality and readability.
If you read my blog articles regularly, you hear a lot about publishing only high-quality copy. It’s my #1 tip for almost any aspect of copywriting, including how to increase website stickiness.
Google designs its search algorithm based on your audience’s behavior, so in the end, it always comes down to whether your audience likes your content and comes back for more. When in doubt about content, be audience-centric and not self-serving. There are many aspects of what makes content high quality.
First is to write for a specific audience or audience persona. This will help you determine a relevant topic and what type of information to include. When thinking about how to increase website stickiness, pay special attention to readability and how easy it is for the reader to find what they are looking for.
Website stickiness Tip #2: Leverage page titles and subheads
Again, we’ll start with some definitions about page titles (the H1 tag) and subheads (H2, H3, H4 tags–and down the line):
What is the H1 Tag?
Also known as the post title, the H1 Tag is the title that shows up on the webpage itself. It’s the first thing the user sees when they land on the page, so it must capture their attention. Note: Don’t confuse it with the HTML “page title” (also known as the meta tag, HTML title tag, or SEO title), which shows in the browser window and as the title in the search engine results page snippet.
What is the H2 Tag?
The web page should be set up with a hierarchy of heading tags. First is H1, as defined above. Logical subheads would be set up hierarchically with H2, H3, and H4 tags (and down to line).
Here’s how copywriters can optimize H1 and subheading tags as a way to improve website stickiness:
How to Optimize Your H1 Tag:
Your H1 page title is the first place where the copywriter can affect stickiness. If it doesn’t immediately capture the audience, they may leave very quickly. Most important, it should clearly and correctly indicate what the article is about. Again, if you mislead the user they will likely move away from the page and your website. Make it useful—not self-serving or overly hyped.
How to Optimize Your H2 Tags:
If the reader decides to read the content on the page, you’ve won your first stickiness battle. The next step is to engage your audience and help them move smoothly through the content. One way to do this is making it easy for them to scan the article to tell them what to expect and determine if the content is relevant. This is where your H2 and H3 subheads can help you boost website stickiness.
In addition to helping your reader scan, subheads help them find the information they are specifically interested in. Equally important, the content should closely reflect the subhead it falls under, or both the reader and Google will become confused. An adjunct of this is to have each subsection focus on a discrete idea. Be sure to include your keywords (or synonyms), but don’t overdo it or inappropriately force it, or Google and your readers will be turned off and your bounce rate will jump.
Website Stickiness Tip #2: Improve website stickiness through ease and emphasis.
I don’t want to say that your readers are lazy, but they are busy and easily distracted. Make it easy for them to digest content by making sentences short, easy to understand, and varying in length. Likewise, short paragraphs aid comprehension, break up the copy, and add some eye-calming white space. As for specific words, avoid hype, jargon, or complicated words when an easy one will do.
Website Stickiness Tip #3: Use formatting wisely.
Another way to make reading easier is with the smart use of formatting. Numbered lists, bullet points, and call-outs lists draw attention to interesting details, break up the page, and keep the reader interested. Other ways to help the reader call attention to important details include care use of boldface, italics, underlining, and colors.
Website Stickiness Tip #4: Know how much information.
Determining how much information to provide on each page is tricky. Again, there’s no single answer. For SEO, Google likes to see at least 300 words per page. But again, you need to judge page length based on what is useful for your readers.
Too little and your readers might be frustrated by not having enough decision-making information. Too much information and your risk overwhelming them. Some of this comes down to what your audience likes and the type of page (blog article, product page, contact us page). Each type of page has opportunities to make it appealing, readable, and optimized to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion.
Website Stickiness Tip #5: Learn how to boost stickiness through internal links.
Internal links are helpful for several reasons. They help SEO, but they also help readers. Logical internal links help your audience find related information if they want to know more about the topic. Up to several internal links on a page can lead visitors to helpful, relevant resources. Some people recommend many more, up to a dozen or more, but I find too many links within paragraphs confusing and difficult to read.
I’m going to repeat the previous paragraph in 2 different ways so you can see what I mean (Note that the links in the paragraph are fake!):
Example 1 – Too Many Links:
Internal links are helpful for several reasons. They help SEO, but they also help readers. Logical internal links help your audience find related information if they want to know more about the topic. Up to several internal links on a page can lead visitors to helpful, relevant resources. Some people recommend many more, up to a dozen or more, but I findtoo many links within paragraphs confusing and difficult to read.
Messy, right? Instead, cut down the number of link or find alternate ways to display them. Here’s the same paragraph—you still have internal links, but it’s easier for the reader to make sense of and to find the extra resources they may want.
Again, the sample paragraph below includes fake links.
Example 2 – fewer, but more useful, links:
Internal links are helpful for several reasons. They help SEO, but they also help readers. Logical internal links help your audience find related information if they want to know more about the topic. Up to several internal links on a page can lead visitors to helpful, relevant resources. Some people recommend many more, up to a dozen or more (source), but I find too many links within paragraphs difficult to read.
Read more about internal links here. Here are more resources about SEO.
Much better! The paragraph above shows that you can have several links even in a short paragraph without overwhelming the reader. Instead, you made it easier for your website visitor to access related pages and direct them to other valuable content—increasing stickiness.
Successful copywriters focus on how to increase stickiness.
A copywriter’s first duty is to the reader. However, it would be silly to suggest that the modern copywriter doesn’t have to be mindful of website performance. It just takes a little more knowledge and practice. If you use external creative resources, look for a freelance copywriter who creates SEO-friendly content that engages your audience and keeps them on your website.
Studies show that the right headings for blog posts can yield big results. A post’s CTR (click-through rate) and SEO performance can vary widely simply based on how well the post heading is crafted. A bad heading can make your article tank, while a great headings can lead to killer traffic and conversion. Here are the facts:
These statistics go to show that it’s worth taking the time to craft your headline wisely to get better blog post results and boost CTR. Make it a priority—or the rest of your good content can go to waste.
Here’s a prerequisite before diving into blog post headings:
Do you know the difference between title tags and H1 heading? This can be a source of confusion for marketers and bloggers, but it’s important to understand. In some ways they’re similar. They are both essential for grabbing user attention, increasing popularity, and boosting click-through rates (CTR). But there are also important differences between them.
Let’s start with definitions of title tags and H1 headings for blog posts:
The H1 header tag (aka post title), is what users see on the page. They are particularly helpful to increase user appeal and social media shares.
Title tags (aka page titles, meta titles, and SEO titles) are what users see in the browser bar window. They are the clickable blue titles in search engine snippets and are also shown the post is shared on social media.
This graphic shows the difference between the H1 tag and the page title in greater detail:
The page title and H1 tag can be similar and closely related but they don’t have to be identical. In WordPress and other CMS systems, the platform will automatically convert your post title to the page title. Using an SEO plugin like Yoast enables you to change post and page titles to better describe the page, make the title more concise, or to include keywords.
Use compelling blog post headings to captivate users and encourage shares.
H1 tags are useful for both users and SEO. They are mostly used by users once they are on the page. While title tags have the prime location in the search page snippet, H1 tags are still quite useful. They signal to Google what the page is about and how relevant it will be to a particular user search. There is generally one H1 per page, while there can be several heading tags lower down in the hierarchy.
This video provides more details on the H1 tag:
Best practices for improving blog post headings:
There are some well-established ways to use your post title to improve your blog post results:
Establish the key subject of the article and set the tone
Address one of the audience’s pain points
Include a value proposition that shows the information will make the personal life or job better.
Include target keywords to help search engines understand what the page is about. It’s helpful to plug your “test” title into the search bar to see what comes up regarding your competition. For other title ideas, see the “People Also Ask” section in the middle of the search page and the “Searches related to…” area at the bottom.
Use a proven format, such as including a number (such as percentages, dollar amounts, time saved), education How-Tos, Secret or Little Known, Warnings, The Best, Tips, Top 10, and questions.
Be honest about what the reader will gain from reading the article (the takeaway).
Keep it 6-13 words, or under 55-60 characters to the title won’t be cut off.
To find what works best for your business, one idea is to analyze how your other blog posts have performed. What do the titles of your best (and worst) performing blog posts have in common? What topics do they cover, what type of language do they use, what keywords did you focus on, and what type of format were they? Can you see any trends over time? You can also conduct A/B testing to see the relative performance of two different headlines. Studying these H1 elements will guide you in developing headlines for future blog posts.
Pay attention to H1 article headings and boost your click-through rate.
Don’t spend time creating quality content without diving into creating the best headline you can. It’s not always easy, but it’s time well spent. If you need to shore up your blog posts, with great headlines that boost your click-through rate, contact Boston-based Westebbe Marketing, 617-699-4462.
Let me tell you a story about an unfortunate blogger who didn’t create a blog editorial calendar…
Once upon a time there was a marketing writer who didn’t create a blog editorial calendar. You guessed it–that copywriter was me, just a few years ago. It was enough to just have a few computer folders to organize my blogging: Blogs in Progress, Completed Blogs, and Blog Ideas. I had bits and pieces of fragmented semi-organizational system in notebooks, on my calendar, Trello boards, and more. Some stuff I just tried to remember—never a good idea!
Every small businesses blog post is an opportunity.
Is small business blogging really worth it? On the plus side, it’s been shown that businesses that blog have been shown to see up to 55% more traffic than companies that don’t blog. On the other hand, for marketers at small B2B businesses, all the time and energy spent writing articles can just seem like an obstacle to completing critical and time-sensitive projects. This is especially true if your company doesn’t have a dedicated in-house writer.
However, if one of your main jobs as a small business marketer is to drive qualified leads to your website, it’s important to keep in mind that helping you get found in search results is one of blogging’s main benefits—and the primary reason you need to make close friends with your B2B blog, rather than view it as an annoying office mate. By blogging wisely, small business bloggers give their search rankings a huge boost, making it well worth your time and resources.